Tour de France '07 – Chicken Flies Again

Jul 25 2007

So – who do you believe leastAlexandre Vinokourov or Lindsay Lohan? After all, each claims to suffer from some persecution; and, to Vino’, at least, the official response is “well, duh”. While I still wouldn’t mind seeing B-samples before I see headlines, the results of Stage 15’s test sure don’t look good for Vino, either. Furthermore, there was another positive test announced today, but the 9am EDT deadline for release passed without anyone being named. Since only 8 riders were tested on Stage 11, I’ll go out on a limb and say it was Astana’s Maxime Iglinsky or Lampre’s Patxi Vila; all the other names are still in the Tour, and ASO would never let a positive rider toe the line.

The shock and chaos aside, I think a lot of people are rallying around Vino’s positive for the sake of the sport. Tom Boonen says the positive test is a good thing, and certainly, the press caravan seems to agree. Half the peloton staged a protest at the beginning of today’s race, not for rider’s rights (like the last time around), but against the dopers among them. It’s kinda like an inverted, real-life game of Mafia, as the peloton tries to sway organizers to snuff certain riders out. And if the threat of Olympic exclusion wasn’t enough, the boos of the fans may have been, as Michael Rasmussen finally made his case to the press about why he shouldn’t get kicked off the island.

Anyway, there was indeed a Tour stage today, won by none other than Michael Rasmussen. The Dane dropped a less-than-stellar Alberto Contador 1km from the line, and the young Spaniard was then inexplicably eclipsed by teammate Levi Leipheimer (hello? bonus seconds?). As the Dane took his second stage with a now 3:00+ GC gap, you could hear the boos from Boston. Strangely, while French and Kazakh fans seem upset (for different reasons) with this race status quo, Italians seem to prefer a questionable victor – or at least that’s what a highly informal, open-to-non-Italians, and statistically unsound survey says. Basque fans blew some stuff up, but otherwise, seemed ambivalent about the latest race events.

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